Category Archives: Natural Beauty

Authenticity – Letting The Inner You Shine


Mountain-Sunset-ReflectionRemember when life was simple and understandable?  Yeah, neither do I.  As reality would have it, we exist in a world of context, image and ambiguity.  Some by choice, other by perception.  Where does that leave authenticity?  Answer, you and me.  It is incumbent upon each of us to project our authentic self.  And it is when we are most still that clarity and awareness reveal themselves to us.

We must first acknowledge and accept that we are all very complex beings.  We value, we believe, we hope, we fear, we love, we avoid, we seek, we appreciate, we contemplate, we aspire, we interact, we influence, we anticipate and we pray… that others understand and respect us.

Given the hodgepodge of mixed messages we emit to the world in a continuous fashion, it is no surprise that misunderstanding occurs on a very regular and frequent basis.  And what results is tension, confusion, anxiety, fear and even depression.  Just to be clear, I’m describing the emotions each of us experience as we live our lives while striving to reveal ourselves to the world.

Much of life’s stress can be channeled, perhaps even avoided, if we can truly look within ourselves to identify the person in the mirror.  Self_ImageHow we are ‘wired’, what we believe, where we are going and what is our goal.  Man, if we don’t know this, how do we expect anyone else to figure it out?

The best advice I’ve ever discovered is, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” – William Shakespeare

This is not rocket science, people.  It is pure and unadulterated common sense, yet it goes without heed by millions on a daily basis for all eternity.  Self-awareness is the key to happiness and happiness means something uniquely distinct to each of us.  Self-awareness alone, however, does not lift the fog of life.  It must be coupled and forever joined with courage; the courage to live your conscience and core values without apology and certainly without hesitation.

“Profound truths such as trust, relationships, harmony, happiness, respect, dignity and motivation all become squarely within our grasp as human beings, once self-awareness and courage are lifted from the toolbox of life and used as a habit in each of our lives.”

BalancePersonally, I’ve found that I am most happy when the reality of my life is in balance and harmony with my core values and faith.  I live to help others, to generate good will, to share positive energy, to be a happy and content person, to experience the world on my terms, to believe and practice my faith, and of course, to write.  All that I am is but a glimmer of the man I want to be; and that pursuit keeps me going like the energizer bunny, non-stop.

So, do yourself (and the world) a favor and get to know yourself before crafting that image, creating that context and eradicating that ambiguity that others see as you.  Focus on who you want to be and not what others believe you should be.  Strive to project the image of your spirit and aura and most importantly, be honest with yourself.  It is only then that Truth will reveal itself to you.

 

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Deer Hunter’s Prayer – A Dedication


In memory of my dad, who loved hunting and fishing and completely respected and appreciated God’s gifts of nature.  Living as a Sportsman provided my dad solace, serenity and peace of mind.   Please be a respectful sportsman and respect those that are, if you are not.  Be well.

Deer Hunter’s Prayer – A Dedication.

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Faith – A Strategy You Can Believe In


Helen_Keller_Quote_3Parallels in life abound.  There are common threads among relationships, motivation, discipline, healing, teaching; just to name a few.  Parallels, not in the sense of a common denominator of the concepts themselves, but in how these concepts are applied in various scenarios of life.  And becoming “good” at life is the ultimate goal, yes?

 

 

 

“As a manager, I learned over time that raising children, in all its glory, excitement and occasional pain, contained specific lessons or approaches to be learned that very effectively carried over to managing people in a business environment.  Aspects like motivation, discipline, analysis, problem-solving, personal development and team-building; shared threads of process, insight and self-awareness that could be woven or stitched together to form a cohesive and compassionate strategy to not only accomplish work, but more importantly, develop character, integrity and a sense of purpose in others when viewed and appreciated as precious human beings.”

BelieveEqually, there is learning in the interaction, conversation and sense of accomplishment one experiences when it is shared among individuals.  A key ingredient, however, in the pursuit of introspective and effective leadership can be distilled into one word and one goal; compassion and building trust.

As with many individuals, some things you learn throughout the course of living, present themselves as simply profound and  just stick with you throughout the remainder of your life.  For me, one of those “things” was a quote from a management guru, Gordon Shea, as contained in a 1984 Management Briefing for the AMA (American Management Association ).

“Trust is the ultimate intangible. It has no shape or substance, yet it empowers our actions. And its presence or absence can govern our behavior as if it were a tangible force. . . . Trust is the ‘miracle ingredient’ in organizational life–a lubricant that reduces friction, a bonding agent that glues together disparate parts, a catalyst that facilitates action. No substitute–neither threat nor promise–will do the job as well.”

Footprints_2And speaking of parallels, let’s make the quantum leap from business back to life; from trust to its foundation; faith.  If not steeped in trust, what is faith?  Faith is that trust or belief in something or someone that cannot be seen, touched or perceived by our physical senses, but only felt and experienced with our heart.

When one looks at life from a macro perspective, the essence of life is faith.  Faith that the core essentials of our physical being will be provided (food, clothing and shelter).  Faith that a means to provide for those essentials will be obtained (job).  Faith that our emotional, psychological and meta-physical health will be attained….  You see, Faith is indeed, a strategy for life.

Faith, not in the sense of simply the word, but critically, in the sense of the belief in God, eternal life, salvation and a sense of purpose.  Faith is life, as is the oxygen we breathe, the water we drink and the sun we embrace as warmth.  Faith is perhaps, the Spiritual DNA of our existence as human beings; as children of God.

Faith is nurtured, cultivated and undeniably grows within each of us as our self-awareness develops and we acknowledge and accept the reality and presence of the supernatural force we call “God”.

Be well, or should I say, “Keep the Faith”.

 

Without Winter – There Would Be No Spring


winter_sunshine_2-wallpaper-1366x768Viewed individually, various events and occurrences in life appear discrete, independent and ordinary.  Yet, when examined at a macro level, join to form a mosaic and fabric of cosmic and supernatural dimension, previously unnoticed, unknown and seemingly hidden as camouflaged fauna in the forest.

Life illustrates interdependence and purpose.  It demands and provides perspective; creates balance and alignment; offers insight, understanding and is the precursor to appreciation, knowledge and wisdom.  It’s sole purpose is to enable spiritual growth and maturity.

The Seasons of life present cyclic patterns that yield rhythmic frequency, vibration & harmony.  These elemental constructs Signs_of_Springrepresent the fundamental nature of all matter and energy.  Moreover, life offers a synergistic and systemic glimpse into the exceedingly complex and symbiotic environment we call our “world”.

“The seasons of nature are inextricably woven together to create a tapestry of nature that features seamless transitions and repeating patterns.  Patterns that tease and delight the senses and awaken and align the soul to the secrets of life.”

All around us, seemingly opposite and mutually exclusive concepts and events in reality, are linked together and truly cannot exist without their counterpart and furthermore, cause their counterpart to likewise exist.  It is impossible for Good to exist without Bad, Growth without Dormancy, Warmth without Cold, Beauty without Bland, Young without Old, Light without Darkness, Redemption without Sin and Birth without Death.

beautiful_forest_scenery-wallpaper-1366x768Together, these opposing forces compose the world we know and live in.  One must truly appreciate the undesirable aspects of life, for without them, the positive and desirable features of our world could simply not exist.  Indeed, they are defined by them.

Absent these complementary aspects of life, our world would quiver and shake like an unbalanced tire on a car, disrupting our ride through life, sending it out of control, preventing our focus on anything, resulting in a random, unordered and unintelligent primordial mess.

Autumn_Color_LakeOddly, order out of chaos, harmony and balance is achieved because of these choice-creating dichotomies in our world; but only if and when we choose the outcomes that complement the core values that are manifest in our spirits and souls.  Profoundly, this is our charge in life, to create or achieve the perfect balance that produces harmony.

I’ve always been enamored with the inner peace that unadulterated nature produces within me as I experience it.  A void is created that consumes worries, fears, anger and anxiety as a black hole consumes matter.  Time appears to stand still and clarity of purpose presents itself in crystalized purity.  Indeed, silence speaks volumes.

The perfect passage for this is illustrated in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Take the time to consider all the apparent conflicts in your life and make an effort to create a sense of gratitude for them in your heart, for your journey would not be able to realize a fitting conclusion without them.  Be well.

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Fear Not Death – Be the Caterpillar


Monarch caterpillarOne of life’s most powerful teachings conditions each of us to fear death; the concept, the finality, even the word!  My truth, however, contradicts this myth, as I perceive death as simply another stage in my development as a Christian, an eternal being and spiritual energy source.  Death is but a completely normal and inevitable passage-way and transformational event which occurs admittedly on a very personal level, and serves a specific purpose in the perspective of eternal life and our personal salvation.

As human beings our tendencies influence us in significant ways; to be afraid of the dark, to avoid walking under a ladder, to not allow a black cat to cross your path.  Many see these scenarios as superstitions, conditioned behavior or legitimate and potential sources of darkness and evil.  Profoundly, just because we may perceive them as real, doesn’t logically result that they represent “Truth”.

Monarch_ChrysalisIt would be completely understandable for the caterpillar to fear it’s fate of becoming a cocoon, yes?  However, a closer examination of this now known and demystified event reveals it to be nothing more than a normal process or event in the life-cycle of the caterpillar.  One could conjecture that the caterpillar in fact, faces death without reservation, because of the awareness of the transformed life that is created as a result of the process.

Death is but another “rebirth” or transformation of our life energy from one stage/form to the next.

“Death is as a bridge in that its purpose is to connect two worlds, the result of which is to serve as one seamless and uninterrupted journey.”  

Without question, death can be viewed as an end in the physical perspective of human life, but arguably, death is so much more than that.  Likewise, it can be viewed as simply a doorway to another aspect or phase of existence and consciousness in the purest sense of the word, life.

Monarch_Butterfly_FlowerWe, as yet, are unaware of the form our soul assumes after our physical death.  If it is, however, anything like the journey of the Caterpillar, aka Monarch Butterfly, with all sincerity, we should not fear its coming and in fact, should welcome its arrival!  The only assumption underlying this path of thought is that we strove to live our physical life to our unique potential, in a meaningful, noble, dignified and reverent fashion.  Break free of the captive and limited mindset each of us, to varying degrees, have been molded and conditioned to exist within, as boundaries.

Be the caterpillar!  Anticipate your transformation (death) and plan to celebrate the occasion of your soul’s metamorphosis into eternal life.  Emerge a radiant and beautiful spirit/soul, let your Heart fly toward the sky, be as one with God and rejoice in everything distinctively You!  Be well.

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Are You the Shadow or the Light?


Sunrise_Above_CloudsAs darkness is truly and simply the absence of light, it follows that the evidence of light is revealed in the shadow(s) it creates upon its presence, when set with a background.  In much the same way of thinking, the evidence of God is revealed in the behaviors of others upon His presence, with the world as a backdrop.  As with light and God, it is difficult to view both directly as they are piercingly brilliant and vanquish all darkness around them.

Many individuals find comfort in being the shadow, believing in their hearts that their Shadow_Loveefforts are noble, and hence, their salvation secure.  As with any and most conventions, however, the genuine truth lies somewhere beneath the surface and beyond the image.  Artificial light is precisely that; not real and only reflective of true light.

“What, then, is true light?  It begins with pure intent and robust knowledge, and is complemented with action.”

It is a fervent desire to learn as much as possible about God, the Trinity, and perhaps most practical, how to apply that knowledge to everyday life.  Amazingly, it is the resulting change in us as human beings, once affected by God’s love.  Bottom line, it is the ability to positively impact those around us by sharing our thoughts, words, lives and actions (key word; action).

Easter_CrucifixI’d like to profoundly modify the historic quote by Lao Tzu from “To Know and Not Do is to Not Know”, to “To Know God and Not Do is to Not Know God”.  As spiritual beings, we are compelled by our heritage to “Do” the work of God and not simply know about it.  To Do God’s work inherently enlightens us as Christians and positively impacts those around us with whom we have contact and interaction.

Importantly, there is a distinct and meaningful difference between being the shadow and being the light.  If we were made to live and walk in God’s image, then it is incumbent upon us to strive to become the light and not be content to be merely the shadow.

The Light is warmth, peace, illumination, clarity, awareness, calm, joy, beauty and confirmation.  Most of all, it is Love.  It is the presence of all that is good and righteous.  Be the Light, become eternal and dare I say, become Inspired!

The Mirror Doesn’t Lie


Amazing SunriseThroughout the course of your life, you have invariably introduced yourself to many people; a prospective employer, a (new) friend, neighbor, co-worker, relative, customer, professional group or individual.  That one minute of opportunity to convey your essence as a human being, Your beliefs, Your values, Your journey.

And standing on the other side of your conversation, is the individual listening to, assessing, comprehending and yes, perhaps judging who you are, why you are and what you are; much like the mirror on the wall.  And just like the transformation of analog television to HD (High Definition) digital broadcast, the picture we reflect can be extremely clear, bright and even potentially unforgiving.

It comes to no surprise, then, that it is critically important to provide an accurate, focused and understandable picture of yourself to others, so they can hopefully and ultimately “get you”.  Much like a book’s title is testimony to its contents, the life we live on a daily basis becomes our testimony of who we are and of our being at our inner core.  Our life defines our spirit and soul; as it was meant to be.

When each of us contemplates our own personal testimony, it is imperative that we present ourselves with authenticity, sincerity and Not_In_Vein_Coverdetermination.  When we live our lives in this fashion, people take us more seriously, treat us with more respect and associate us with a higher level of credibility and trust.  The image we project in truth, reflects our own sense of personal integrity, character and self-worth.

Without doubt, a journey down this path has increased potential for arriving at a meaningful destination and making a difference in life, ours, others and the future.

These are indeed, heavy and powerful concepts.  And most of us, from early on, are rightly taught to appreciate the finer things in life, including nature, simplicity, kindness, along with having a good sense of humor.  Yes, these are important aspects of life to understand and appreciate, however, we must remember the fundamental purpose our lives serve; to be a testimony of Truth and a student of self-awareness.

Holy_Grail_ChaliceAs limited in duration as life can unpredictably be, we owe it to ourselves and those around us, to not only know who we are, but to know why we are.

“As assuredly as a cup has a purpose to be filled with nourishment, our lives likewise serve a purpose to be filled with the spirit of our uniqueness and journey, the nourishment of our destiny.”

When you look in the mirror, who do you see?  More importantly, who do you want to see?  In the BIG picture of life, we are all oh, so Lucky.  Be well.

Letting the Light In – Achieving Personal Harmony


beautiful_forest_scenery-wallpaper-1366x768If you’re like most people, there have been times in your life when you noticed or had the feeling that something was just not right.  Has this happened to you?  In truth, all of us at times, struggle with attempting to figure out the source of that uneasiness and become frustrated when we simply can’t place our finger on it.

Scenarios like this occur as a result of a misalignment between our inner core values as human beings and our resulting or reactive behaviors, words and thoughts.  Indeed, it may be the classic struggle between good and evil playing out in our lives.  Or, it may empirically represent when we fail to live our unique values within our souls.

To be sure, there is nothing wrong with going through these experiences.  To the contrary, they serve as indicators to alert us that our love-lifethoughts and actions have wandered off the path of our soul and only serve to move us away from who we truly are and who we will become.  Worthy of note, the most essential aspect of these moments in life is that we recognize when they occur and acknowledge what they are based upon.

And you know it comes back to faith; it’s presence, influence, acknowledgement and its truth.  Society has conditioned and encouraged us to equate having faith to being damaged, to being weak…  and that is simply wrong.   I ask, how can denying our inner values and feelings be wrong?  It is not.  In Truth, inner strength is all about leveraging the alignment of values and actions.

The most exhilarating and liberating feeling in the world comes as a result of consciously (and by choice) thinking and acting in alignment and harmony with our soul; the essence of who we are.

“And this balance is not limited to our minds, but extends to include our bodies as well as our physical, emotional and psychological health; it can best be described as a musical instrument being perfectly tuned and playing an epic symphony.”

Ying_Yang_2Faith and prayer reflect our ability to understand, communicate and ultimately like who we see in the mirror each morning as we begin each day anew.   Listen to the voices in your mind, accept the goodness of who you are, choose to think and act in support of your spirit, seek Love.  Then, and only then, will alignment and harmony exist in your life and consequently produce/create peace, love and joy.

Feel the warmth, relish the peace and experience the harmony of life.  Be yourself; Let the Light In; Experience the ultimate symphony.

Me, Myself and Why?


Lights_Sounds_CityThis world certainly has its share of distractions, conveniences, technology and opportunities.   As an understatement, however, at its core, the world is largely characterized by and graced with solitude, clarity of thought, peace and simplicity.

I had the rare opportunity to experience the latter last evening as a ravenous thunderstorm, packed with high winds, torrential rains and hail, ripped through my northern Wisconsin retreat, knocking out the power for eleven-plus hours.

During that time, I had the privilege to experience the peace of complete silence (after the storm hadNature_Quiet passed), the sounds of nature, the absence of technology and the effect of “time standing still”.  The nearly half-day of biblical heaven served as a time for self-analysis and life review, gratitude and spiritual renewal.

Assuredly, each person is unique in personality, faith and character.  For me, I choose to spend time, ideally every day, even if but for five to ten minutes, reflecting on my life, events, direction and goals.  It’s a bit of a huddle with myself, strange as it may sound, but golden_waves.jpghas served as absolutely profound time to ground myself as a human being, recognize all I have to be thankful for, and recommit and refocus my efforts to pursue my life goals and “readjust the sails” to stay on course.

It’s my “check the oil” time and it serves to determine that everything is ok, and if not, alerts me to whatever changes I need to make to return to that state of being.

“Without question, we all need that quick check on a regular basis to review where we have come from, where we are, and where we are headed; along with the necessary actions, mindset and change to get us there.”

Dare I say, Prayer Time.  I’ll offer a new phrase as a corollary to the “build it and they will come”; for me, it is “See and Listen with your heart and Respect your Conscience”.  Here is wishing you that slice of quiet time every day to remember who you are, and most importantly, why.  Let me take you there…

Be well.

Making Sense of the World – Shine Your Light


TreasureEvery now and then an experience reaches out, grabs us by the collar and shakes us to pay attention to something in our lives that has gone overlooked, something we can learn from to become better, more compassionate human beings.  Well, that something occurred to me yesterday.

I call it kismet, because I believe there are no coincidences in life.   Having a surgical nurse for a wife, loving science all my life, having had a neighbor with an autistic child, and of course, being a writer, collectively captured my heart when I “just happened” to be watching a recent episode of The Doctors on television.

I was enamored upon learning the story of Carly Fleischmann, an 18-year-old from Toronto, who Carly_Fleischmannwas diagnosed with non-verbal autism at age two.  With the support and help from her parents, together, they discovered a method for Carly to communicate with others and to express herself.  Initially, via typing and then leveraging current technology and social media, Carly has become the voice of autism for many others.

Indeed, she and her father authored a book entitled, Carly’s Voice.  Carly also produced a short video entitled Carly’s Cafe, for which she won a Cannes Silver Lion Award.

Once unlocked and unshackled from the chains of non-verbal autism, Carly flourished as a student (with an IQ of 122) and has just been accepted at the University of Toronto, where she will study Journalism.

Now, you might wonder or ask, what does this young lady have to do with The Inspired Verse?  My answer, many things!

“In my quest to help others, share my faith, be inspired and attempt to inspire others, Carly epitomizes the classic struggle of every person to be understood by others, not be judged by our appearance or demeanor, and that every person has God-given gifts to be recognized by and shared with others; if only we take the time to search for and see them.”

Carlys_VoiceCarly’s story sparked feelings in me of humility, gratitude and compassion.  Watching this young woman exceed and succeed in a world that labels individuals like her as unsuccessful, I was emotionally, intellectually and spiritually energized to the degree I haven’t been for quite some time.  Most importantly, to be inspired in this fashion just feels so good and empowering.

In my book, “My Life Is Not in Vein” (in progress), I speak about the Eight Senses, the last three simply being the extension of the first five physical senses.

  1. See (Eyes)
  2. Hear (Ears)
  3. Smell (Nose)
  4. Touch/Feel (Hands/Fingers)
  5. Taste (Mouth)
  6. Balance/Equilibrium (Body)
  7. Intuition/ESP (Mind)
  8. Faith (Soul)

Without question, the Eighth Sense is the most essential in your life.  Recognize it, Accept it, Develop it, Appreciate it, and Protect it.  Thought for the Day: Beauty emanates from the inside/out.

Each of us is born unto this world with an internal compass of sorts that helps us define who we are and where we are headed.  Follow your compass to humbly discover your essence and shine your light of Beauty and Magnificence to the world.  Be well.

The Doctors TV Series:

Carly’s Cafe:

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